Stocks Ended Down on Debt Worries

U.S. stocks closed lower for their third day in a row on Tuesday after Ireland’s credit rating was cut to junk by Moody’s Investors Services, overshadowed hints that the Federal Reserve may consider additional stimulus. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 58.88 points, or 0.47%, to 12,446.88. The S&P 500 sank 5.85 points, or 0.44%, to 1,313.64. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 20.71 points, or 0.74%, to 2,781.91.

Moody’s Investors Service on Tuesday lowered Ireland’s foreign- and local-currency government bond ratings by one notch to non-investment grade of Ba1 from Baa3. “The main driver of today’s downgrade is the growing likelihood that participation of existing investors may be required as a pre-condition for any future rounds of official financing, should Ireland be unable to borrow at sustainable rates in the capital markets after the end of the current E.U./IMF support programme at year-end 2013,” said Moody’s in a statement. The outlook on Ireland’s ratings remain negative.

Federal Reserve officials at their last meeting expressed concerns that the weakening job market might hold back the recovery. But members were divided over whether the Fed should take additional steps to help the economy.

Google Inc’s investment spree and shrinking profit margins will draw investor scrutiny when it reports its earnings on Thursday, following an eventful quarter when the company launched the Google+ social network and the government disclosed a probe of its business practices.

Netflix Inc will raise by 60 percent the monthly price of a plan that lets subscribers watch unlimited movies and video online and get DVDs by mail.

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